Foxholes Refurbishment Showcases Duchy Standard

The Duchy of Lancaster has brought a Staffordshire cottage back to life transforming it into a modern family home which was let prior to completion.

Foxholes Cottage on the Needwood Estate became vacant in December 2016 when a long-standing tenancy came to an end. After taking the property back, the Duchy team came up with a scheme that would update the property in line with the Duchy design guide and quality specification. The net result is a superbly appointed family home standing in 2.64 acres and with stabling for 3 horses.

The refurbishment project, which included an upgrade of the outbuildings adjacent to the house itself took 6 months to complete and included the installation of a new kitchen and bathroom. A purpose-built glass portico was designed to maximise natural light and French doors were installed to the front of the property to allow tenants to take full advantage of the view of both the garden and the surrounding open countryside.

Such was the level of interest in this project that several would-be tenants came forward while the refurbishment works were underway. As soon as the project was completed, a 3-year lease was agreed with local residents Mr and Mrs Skipper who became aware of the property while keeping their horses at a neighbouring Duchy livery yard.

Commenting on the move, Mrs Skipper said: “The cottage is in a lovely location and the quality of the renovation works is superb. We fell in love with the property while the refurbishment works were underway as my horse was previously stabled at the neighbouring Foxholes Farm. We are delighted to have secured the tenancy and are looking forward to being part of the Duchy’s Needwood estate.”

Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow added: “The Duchy has been systematically bringing its residential properties up to a common quality standard across the estates. Whenever these historic properties return to us, we give careful consideration as to how best to improve the quality of accommodation on offer to new and existing tenants. Foxholes Cottage is a clear example of a historic property that has been creatively refurbished and improved to reflect contemporary family living.”

Foxholes Cottage is one of 60 residential properties on the Duchy’s 3,000-hectare Needwood estate, which also includes ancient woodland, 50 farm tenancies and a similar number of commercial and miscellaneous lettings. The commercial interests across the estate range from specialist equestrian centres and liveries to a biomass wood chip producer, live/work units, a private airfield and shooting and fishing licenses.